THE RESURGENCE OF NATIONALISM IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

Mădălina Calance Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași calancemadalina@yahoo.com Abstract: Considering the process of integration and the enlargement of the European Union, the continent's political map changed significantly during the last decades. For most of the European nations, facing the integration is going on the path of the economic and social improvement, which also involves important aspects about the nation-state (national identity, nationalism). This paper will focus on the meanings and the dimensions of contemporary nationalism and will later look at the impact of the nationalist ideas in the EU, in times of recession. The study found out that there are many perspectives of the EU challenging national economies and the state sovereignty but, at the same time, people are aware the imminence of the European identity in their economic and cultural future. Keywords: nationalism, national identity, European identity, immigration, populist parties JEL Classification: F15, F52, F59

INTRODUCTION

In the European history, the idea of nationalism has very deep roots. The nationalist ideology is a chameleon over time, being adapted to the prerogatives of a certain nation, the theoretical interpretations of a historical period or to specific political circumstances. Certainly, nationalism is one of the major phenomenons of the last two centuries, whose expression is a reflection of multiplying the nation-states from a dozen (mostly in Europe) to thousands. This increase demonstrates the strength of the principle of self-determination, which proclaims the right of people and nations to establish their own course of political, economic, cultural and social development, without outside interventions. Under the aegis of globalization, important economic and political changes are occurring throughout the world, due to the activity of multinational or transnational corporations, interstate economic organizations or supranational organizations (such as the European Union), with a major impact on the sovereignty of the national state, considered to be more powerless in solving global problems such as: monetary policy, security, the regulation of commercial activities, etc. The new shape of world politics is emerging the idea of the state losing sovereignty in favour of higher political entities. There are many aspects of the European Union challenging national sovereignty. This fact is feeding the nationalist and populist criticism and is shaping a resistance phenomenon. Therefore, we can notice an antagonistic relationship between nationalists, focusing on the set of

CES Wo rking Papers, IV, (1), 2012

24

they always feel the need for distinction. nationalism is a doctrine that differentiates the individuals in their nationality. not only economical. or establishment of political union on a basis of nationality. financial and international migration. The national identity is now facing especially the contact with other national cultures. the approach of a unified society is paradoxically emphasizing notions as "difference". Otherwise.3) * www. by facilitating trade flows. the general tendency was towards welding into large strong national unities the loosely related states and provinces with shifting attachments and alliances that covered large areas. Furthermore. which supports the reinforcement of national identies. Whether individuals are single or organized in communities. This view tends to be anachronistic in the context of a galloping XXI st century globalization. at a global level. but socially as well. making for federal union of diverse nationalities. In varietate concordia). was a dominant factor alike in dynastic movements and as an inner motive in the life of masses of population. Nationalism was the most successful political force of the XIXth century. and therefore adopted the motto”Unity in diversity” (lat.” (p. enlarging the area of nationality. Norway and Sweden. "identity" or "independence". The European Union understood this imperative. (1). as in United Germany and in North America. IV. the socio-cultural interconnectivity leads to the emergence of nationalist ideas that are either justified or exaggerated. 1. a sociological or psychological perspective. as in the cases of Austro. In both. and the Swiss Federation. in external politics. [… ] Sometimes nationality was taken as a basis of federation of States. the new political system created the dilemma of nationstate.britannica.Hungary.co m CES Wo rking Papers. However. THE PAST AND PRESENT OF EUROPEAN NATIONALISM An Encyclopaedia Britannica * overview submits that nationalism is an ideology based on the premise that the individual’s loyalty and devotion to the nation-state surpass other individual or group interests. On the other hand. 2012 25 . Hobson (2005) during the nineteenth century ’’ the struggle towards nationalism. Inevitably.interests and aspirations of a nation and supra nationalism . which reveals the possibility of higher authorities to manage and enforce rules and judgments directly to the national structures. sometimes took a disruptive form […] or sometimes it was a unifying or a centralising force. integration seems to dissipate the political borders of nation-states. According to the English economist John A. That struggle. It is true that the forces making for political union sometimes went further.

Supranational is normative. This creates a reaction from the far-right parties. These parties have managed to legitimize policies by nationalist and protectionist approach. xenophobia. the far-right parties are rising in Europe. the European Court of Human Rights or the Commission) impose standards on states. Cas Mudde (2004 a) studies the issue of populist parties and defines them as „political parties that share an ideology which combine features as: nationalism. the collapse of communism and the European Union enlargement were succeeded by the removal of anti-democratic aspects. the nationalism being transformed in empathy for the national working class and xenophobia for the capitalist side. habits).national character of the Union requires that all member states should surrender a part of their sovereignty by correlating the legislation and applying the directives of the European institutions.4). authoritarianism denotes a strict belief in law and order (yet not necessarily an antidemocratic attitude). the national boundaries are redrawn. by promoting chauvinism. as well. racism and xenophobia. and populism refers to an ideology that considers society ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic ’pure people’ versus ’the corrupt elite’. 543). nationalism is a major challenge for the EU by raising the issue of minorities. (1). and which argues that politics should be an expression of the volonté générale (general will) of the people” (Mudde 2004 b. or populism” (p. With the European Union. to please the people of Europe. On the other hand.In middle of the XXth century the European nationalism loses its original meaning becoming more aggressive. are putting into question the power of the nation state. especially in countries with dictatorial (fascist) regime. In times of austerity. CES Wo rking Papers. authoritarianism. The Second World War ends with the communist regimes takeover. 2012 26 . fed by growing nationalist resentments of citizens or immigrants. so the EU institutions (the European Court of Justice. At the end of the century. from the academic or the political field. the nationalist ideas and the future of national economies. identity and diversity and questioning the Union’s capacity to lead the states beyond their features. The supra. the economic recession proves once again that the emergence of nationalism is a condition. According to Riva Kastoryano (2010). Many voices. xenophobia refers to the fear of anything alien (including people. ideas. seeking to redefine the principles of states and the national identity against the supranational institutions. p. The same author claims that” nationalism entails a polit ical doctrine arguing the convergence of state (the political unit) and nation (the cultural unit). IV.

Also.1 Protecting national identity On a late 90’s survey† initiated by The European Values Study questioning the opinion on the European Union. Serbia. statistics show that the feelings of belonging to EU are tending to be very similar in nature to the way citizens are proud of their nationality. Bulgaria. the national bond provides the most inclusive community. Northern Ireland. historical or ethnic references. Czech Republic. Norway. of the validity of a system of states in each region and continent. Belarus. institutions and ceremonies. (1). Georg ia. Belgiu m. Ukraine. the approaches of national identity are configured on cultural. Great Britain. Croatia. Latvia. Hungary. Republic of Montenegro. Iceland. by commanding the basic political allegiance of citizens. Armen ia. 2.eu/scadplus/constitution/objectives_en. Greece. values and memories. Den mark. Lu xembourg. etc. Swit zerland. A zerbaijan. France. Otherwise. IV. Sweden. Therefore. Republic of Moldova.htm Research aria: A lbania. the European Constitutional Treaty brings the obligation to respect the national identities and the fundamental political and constitutional structures of the Member States * . and ultimately in the world as a whole. The nation may also be seen as the basic unit of moral economy. as well as in language. NATIONAL AND EUROPEAN IDENTITY The meaning of national identity is based on the concept of nation-state (as its founding principle) that relies on cultural. because of their omnipresence and universality. law. Portugal. Northern Cyprus. Poland. Fin land. CES Wo rking Papers. 144) . Smith (1991) speaks about national identity in political terms as determining the co mposition of the regime ’s personnel and legitimating the policy goals and administrative practices for every citizen. Lithuania. Estonia. many people believed that EU was an organism able to protect national identity. Republic of Macedonia. Cyprus. Germany (East/West). The Netherlands. Malta. ethnic or historical backgrounds. have become the only recognized source of ‘inter. national identity is revealed in a whole range of assumptions and myths. race. Russia. Slovenia. Spain. Slovak Republic. the nation-states and the national identity are fundamental dimensions of the modern world.). ”the nation and the national identity. He claims that ”in the cultural sphere. Ireland.national legitimacy’. Regarding the relations between the Union and the Member States. 144). gender.2. Kosovo. Anthony Smith (1991) sees national identity as the most fundamental and inclusive of all collective identities (class. 2012 27 . Ro mania. Turkey. For Smith. * † http://europa. in terms of both territory and of resources and skills” (p. Austria.” (p. religion. Bosnia -Herzegovina. the generally accepted boundary within which intercourse normally takes place and the limit for distinguishing the ’outsider’. Socially. Italy.

only a truly united Europe could protect its states national. (1).org/) In 2008. historical and cultural identities. CES Wo rking Papers.gesis. 2012 28 . the percentage of people who answered they were ” very much afraid” of loosing national culture or identity almost equals the percentage of negative answers. IV. there is a greater percentage of the answers favouring the idea of European Union as protective for the national identity (about 75 %): Figure 1 – Opinion on European Union: National Identity (1990-1999) Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. the frequency of sceptical views has increased considerably. in times of recession. of people saying they are ”not afraid of all” (17%). As we can see in Figure 2. Few people were thinking that unifying the European states would mean the end of their national.For them. the fear of loosing national identity was more intense. If ten years before some people may have had fears about the consequences of the European Union openness. Their national economic interests would also be sacrificed. As we can see in Figure 1. the unemployment or the immigration. historical and cultural identities and their national economic interests from the challenges of the superpowers. due to important factors such as the global crisis.

Furthermore. IV.Figure 2 – Fear of loosing national identity (2008) Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. In response to xenophobia of the host population the immigrants could preserve their national identity and CES Wo rking Papers. 2005).2 Immigration Immigration affects the national economic system and always represented an important social problem. because the mobility of individuals comes with the external migration phenomenon. the international migration flows can be considered by the host population as a threat to the national identity and can cause nationalist reactions of rejection. with the EU consolidation. (1). At the same time we are facing a negative phenomenon. With the dissipation of borders induced by increased international collaboration and the influx of labor force in the European market.org/) 2. common space.gesis. Today. The European nationalism of the XIXth century was an unifying force which brought together people of diverse backgrounds at the price of subordinating their ethnic identities to the larger territorial unit dominated by the secular state (Pamir. it offers the opportunity for business to expand and for millions of people to have better jobs. 2012 29 . the state and the ethnic identities operate and interact in a larger. higher incomes or just a better lifestyle.

In fact. we are witnessing an increasing diversity inside the national space. (1). CES Wo rking Papers. and migration continues to erode faith in the nation-state. many people are considering that immigrants take jobs away from natives in a country and will become a threat to society. Thus.maintain strong links with the original community.org/) About 40% of respondents asked in the survey belived that immigrants are causing damages on the national labor market. as well. Figure 3 – EU citizens opinion on immigrants taking their jobs Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. penetration and mixture of individuals from different cultura l backgrounds other than the reference country are leading to the development of multicultural communities. As we can see in the below charts (figures 3 and 4). A similar percentage sees the future of society affected by the proportion of immigrants. as a result of integration. being a challenge for cultural heritage of nations. there is a rare situation when a state administers a homogeneous community. In Europe. IV. the Hungarians in Transylvania).g. the evolution of multicultural states is a major threat to nationalist ideology.gesis. nationalism finds expression inside the communities living within nationstates and aspires to autonomy or their own state constitution (e. 2012 30 . and only few disagree with this assumptions. even within nation-states. Therefore. Instead of a uniform European society.

Figure 4 – EU citizens opinion on immigrants representing a social threat Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat.gesis. the Netherlands.3 The nationalist parties The political and economic history of Europe shows us that the economic recession leads to the emergence of nationalism and enhances the credibility of nationalist governments. (1). the inequality and poverty in developing countries. which is eurosceptic CES Wo rking Papers. The France National Front (FN). Hungary. which are anti-Islamist. the negative ”domino” effects of globalization.immigrant parties in Europe. in Finland. exceeding 10 % (figure 5). The Dutch Freedom Party and the Danish People's Party.org/) 2. 2012 31 . Austria. In Finland. Sweden. that are expressed mostly through the voice of nationalist or populist parties. challenging the economy and the common currency. BBC News Europe also indicates a resurgence of nationalism in Europe by recording the electoral results for some of the most successful nationalist/ anti. Denmark. which are disrupted by the globalization. or immigration. IV. Europhobic parties are challenging the European democracy. the dependence on powerful supranational bodies are often causing discontents and emerging nationalist ideas. France or Belgium the rise of populist. Moreover.’33 crisis that paved the way for Hitler or Mussolini’s nationalist governments. xenophobic. True Finns party. They represent the voice of citizens. We have the example of the ’29. the instability. The current global recession hit hard the Euro Zone. Italy. the job losses.

co m According to a STRATFOR * (2011) study.. the ongoing economic crisis ”has corroborated much of that which they advocate: those immigration policies should be reformed. Figure 5 – Average votes for nationalist parties in the last 3 general elections Source: www. in the minds of many nationalist parties in Europe. Bulgaria is fighting * The world's leading private intelligence firm (www.stratfor. that the European integration process should be reverted. (1).and a strong opponent of the immigration. such as Hungary.” In central Europe. etc. which would grant Hungarian citizenship to ethnic Hungarians outside its borders and Romanians. and that their national identities should be protected. offensive or defensive nationalism are a source of tension between neighbor states.co m) CES Wo rking Papers. 2012 32 . seeking to complete the Romanian territory.starfor. they all have great political influence by achieving trust and votes from the electorate. in the past 3 years. IV.

No. and rejection of the other. is expressed by targeting immigration.J.bbc.3. Mudde. Islam or multiculturalism for strengthening the borders that define the national identity. involving their habits and lifestyles. acessed on February 2012 at: http://zacat. accessed on February 2012 at: http:/www. Great social and economic processes like the integration or the globalization can find a serious opponent in extreme nationalism. In addition. as well.britannica. restoring industrial and trade policies by making them more offensive could abolish criticisms against the economic openness of the EU. (n.uk/news/world-europe-13115454. the acceptance of immigration may be assured by a more active integration policy. (2005) Imperialism: A Study. Of course.gesis. 2012 33 . Economic and cultural international relations will always be affected by the differences between people. Today’s nationalism. Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. available at http://www.against Muslim Turkish and Roma minorities. CERC Working Paper. the historical experience of all European nations tells us that its story will never end. pp. New York: Cosimo Inc.org/. A. (1).4-27. REFERENCES Europe: Nationalist resurgence (2011). Kohn. This is why the European democracy is often helpless in front of the simplistic populist thinking. CONCLUSIONS Nationalism is made in Europe. Once again. Hobson. CES Wo rking Papers. providing tensions.d) Nationalism . intolerance. the European model of society can defend itself and protect the national identity. Each of these problems finds support in the progressive nationalist speeches of the populist parties.co. in times of massive immigration and crisis.com/EBchecked/topic/405644/nationalism. available on BBC News Europe. The fact that EU states shared their sovereignty is a source of ambiguity. Not all these nationalist issues will withdraw in the near future. H. IV. (2004 a) Globalization: The multi-faced enemy?. Only by assuming and highly asserting its own values. C. far from defining the territorial boundaries of states. paradox and nationalist extremes. Europe encountered the resurgence of nationalism. A degeneration of the situation is a major threat for the already fragile European populations.

accessed on February 2012 at http://www.starfor. post originally appeared at Stratfor. 2012 34 . (1991) National Identitity. Nevada: University of Nevada Press. (2010) L'Europe face aux nationalismes. (1). D. (1997) Nationalism. IV. C.com/2011-11- 08/europe/30372377_1_european-union-european.financial-system-nationalist-parties/2. www. The International Journal of Peace Studies. P. Ethnicity and Democracy: Contemporary Manifestations .businessinsider.eu/scadplus/constitution/objectives_en. vol. No. accessed on February 2012 at http://europa.edu/programs/icar/ijps/vol2_2/pamir.htm.html. Kastoryano. accessed on February 2012 at: http://articles. The official website of the European Union. Smith. pp 542-563. 2. 3.Mudde. A.cgi?offre=ARCHIVES&type_item=ART_A RCH_30J&objet_id=1139219. Reno. The founding principles of the Union. accessed on February 2012 at: http://www. R. Pamir.gmu. Oxford: Government& Opposition.fr/cgibin/ACHATS/acheter. The European Crisis Is Feeding Support for Nationalist Political Parties.lemonde. 2. (2004 b) The Populist Zeitgeist . no.com CES Wo rking Papers.